It’s interesting when we start to take control of our lives. We make a plan. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. And we resign ourselves to being powerless.
Then we get a bit older and we resolve to make things work. And we do. When a plan threatens to come apart, we jump around and keep it altogether. And feel very good for it.
Muddling through middle age
It’s only much later that we realize that we weren’t really keeping things together. We were feeling better. We were exploring other stories about ourselves in the world.
Not confronting the experiences of middle age
I see the converse too. I know people who are brilliant at retelling a story as if the world does it’s bidding. They can’t countenance a notion that sometimes the world really is not on your side.
They’ve never made the transition from that early stage of needing to be in control. They’ve just learned to divert their strong need to be in control to a story that convinces . . . well, them. It doesn’t convince anyone else. They are still aiming to feel better and they are willing to pervert reality to regain that feeling.
Living honestly with our lack of control
I can’t believe that this self-deception is a good thing. Misreading the world is dangerous. The world simply doesn’t do our bidding.
Our best bet is to position ourselves in the river and go with the current, steering lightly but not fighting. It’s tough though. I still don’t like being washed along. I have to reverse attitudes I worked so hard to learn.
But maybe I can achieve more through inaction?
There! I still want to achieve. Maybe by promising myself that prize, I can experiment with inaction and simply enjoy the river in all its tumultus chaos?